The Board of Directors of Presbyterian Women, Inc. changed the name of the Anti-Racism Committee to the Racial Equity Committee (REC) because it is important to state what PW, Inc. stands for, as opposed to what we are against. The term racial equity embraces not only the goal of ending racism – but it also includes working towards resolving the imbalances which resulted from decades/centuries of racism. The change in committee names also aligns PW, Inc. more closely to the terminology used by the PC(USA), from racial ethnic to racial equity, as a result of decisions made at the 223rd General Assembly (2018).
The following are definitions used by PW’s REC from, Rise, Shine, Be Woke by Anita Coleman, Stephanie Patterson, Francena Willingham, Ash Coleman, and Friends.
- Racial ethnic: In the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the double adjective racial ethnic used to be the term for people of color (non-whites). The 199th General Assembly (1987) defined a racial ethnic group as “a group that defines itself and is defined by other as being phenotypically or culturally divergent from the dominant White American group. And most crucial is the fact the racial ethnic group has held and continues to hold ascribed and unequal states in participation and representation in most, if not all major institutions of American society.” This was changed by the 223rd assembly.
- Racial equity: Is key to justice and a goal of anti-racism, in an ideal situation a society’s markets and institutions will function well for all people. The data does not support this. Thus, in order to improve racial equity we must achieve greater social justice. This means meeting individual people where they are, and when resources are limited as they often are, ensuring that the same kind of justice is experienced. Popular images of racial equity and justice are: leveling the playing field which is controversial, removing barriers, and the popular scales of justice. In this last image, imagine the dominant group on one scale and one of the subordinate groups on another in terms of level of educational attainment, number of employed, number of homeowners, number of never incarcerated, number of poor, and so one. When the scales are balanced on these and other socio-economic and health indicators, then, racial justice has been achieved.
Click here to learn more about Racial Equity.